So as you are getting out there traveling to enjoy the natural beauty of the U.S. National Parks this summer, you may want to take a cautionary note from a case Gordon Firemark wrote about in May. A guy who was filming parts of a feature film was dinged by the Nation Park Service for not securing the proper permits. While the charges against him were dropped, he pressed suit claiming that requiring permits and fees were unconstitutional. The 1st District Court of Appeals held that the fees and permits requirement was constitutional and the Supreme Court declined to hear the case.
Firemark notes that this ruling puts some casual recording and photography activities at risk of prosecution if people seek to monetize those materials.
You take your family vacation to Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, or Yosemite, and you capture some beautiful video. Then, you post it on Youtube. If you monetize that video, it just became commercial., and you could be fined, penalized, or even jailed for violating the park service’s fee-and-permit regulations. Same could happen if you capture a great still image and decide to offer it for sale via a stock-photo agency?
Do a livestream on your monetized YouTube channel from inside the park? Bingo. You need a filming permit. And that costs.
There are a few things we as creators can do to address this situation.
Don’t monetize your work. Ever. Period.
Get the permits. (As understand it, the permit Price should’ve obtained would’ve cost $500 if obtained before filming… and there were penalties and interest tacked on later since he didn’t).
Write to your congressional representatives and ask them to address the situation.